Tech Mahindra's Vision: Using AI to Fast-Track Climate Goal

Tech Mahindra's Vision: Using AI to Fast-Track Climate Goals
Sandeep Chandna, CSO at Tech Mahindra, discusses how generative AI simplifies ESG reporting and aligns with evolving sustainability standards

Indian information technology services and consulting company Tech Mahindra has put sustainability at the heart of the business, with efforts to pursue 'purpose beyond profits' by embedding ESG principles into its core strategy.

Aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and net zero by 2035, Tech Mahindra has made an ambitious target to increase renewable energy in its energy mix by 50% by 2025 and 90% by 2030. Additionally, the business has committed to SBTi net zero targets and is in the process of a target review and approval. The goal sits at 2°C SBTi approved targets of reducing 22% GHG emissions by 2030 and 50% by 2050.

With Sandeep Chandna, Chief Sustainability Officer at Tech Mahindra, we discover how digital technologies – including AI – are impacting the ESG landscape.

Revolutionalising digital transformation

Digital transformation plays a major role in improving sustainability efforts across a wide range of industries – sustainable supply chains are just one example. Digital technologies such as blockchain and digital twin are being used to track the environmental and social impact of products throughout their supply chains. This information is used to make more sustainable sourcing and procurement decisions. Technologies like IoT based solutions – smart sensors find extensive applications in resource optimisation such as waste management, water management and especially energy management. By optimising resources, these efforts lead to more sustainable operations and emission reductions averaging 25-30%.

“Advanced AI technologies are finding their way in climate modelling and scenario analysis to improve the recommendations and insights available for sustainability efforts,” Chandna says. 

“By implementing sustainable supply chains and other sustainable practices like cloud computing and IoT and smart sensors, businesses can reduce their environmental and social impact and make a positive contribution to the planet.

In summation, the benefits of digital transformation for sustainability are many and varied. It improves sustainability by closing material and energy loops and creating circular economies. It also reduces environmental impacts by optimising resource use and reducing waste.

Using generative AI to boost sustainability

Generative AI is innovative because it can make new designs, concepts or materials based on specific criteria. This can lead to the development of more sustainable products, materials and systems that might not have been conceived through traditional methods.

Moreover, artificial intelligence can be applied in a wide range of economic sectors and situations to manage environmental impacts and climate change. For example, it can be used in a variety of ways such as AI-infused clean distributed energy grids, precision agriculture, sustainable supply chains, environmental monitoring and enforcement and enhanced weather and disaster prediction. Research by PwC UK shows that using AI for environmental applications could contribute up to US$5.2tn to the global economy in 2030. 

“In order to meet the goals set out by the Paris Agreement in 2016, companies will need to cut down their emissions by 50% by the end of this decade,” Chandna says. “AI applications, including generative AI, can help fasten the pace of progress by 2030.

“In parallel, the application of AI levers could reduce worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 4% by 2030. At the same time as productivity improvements, AI could create 38.2 million net new jobs across the global economy offering more skilled occupations as part of this transition.”

Generative AI can also help in achieving ESG goals for organisations in numerous ways such as:

  • ESG reporting: Generative AI can simplify ESG reporting by analysing reporting needs, collating details as per reporting formats
  • Data models and analysis: GenAI's predictive and prescriptive analytics capabilities can be applied to ESG Data Management data and information to help create data models and apply analytics
  • Sustainability standards and frameworks: Due to the ever-evolving standards and frameworks of ESG & sustainability, Generative AI can help align the ESG data with the latest ESG Standards and frameworks

To utilise these methods, Tech Mahindra has committed to addressing environmental challenges by reducing its carbon footprint, adopting sustainable practice and leveraging technology to develop eco-friendly solutions.

TechM amplifAI offers a suite of solutions to drive the adoption of AI in a responsible manner, with sustainability built into its foundations. As part of the business’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, it launched the #AI4ACTION challenge to collaborate with a global community of innovators, corporations and educational institutes, to develop creative, AI-powered applications to tackle the environmental challenges. The goal of the project is to use AI technology to combat the most pressing environmental and social issues.

“We have improved our sustainability strategy and scaled our spending on sustainability measures to mitigate the impacts of climate change whilst also creating value for our stakeholders,” Chandna says. “With our comprehensive ESG offerings, we are taking a step further to help our customers shape a better and more sustainable future.

“We are currently working on i.Sustain, i.RiskMan and i.GreenFinance – our proprietary ESG offerings for customers, which aim to bring together ESG data reporting, Sustainability risk management and sustainable finance for supporting our clients in their sustainability journey. We are looking to incorporate AI-based models and bring together useful insights for our customers through our amplifAI sets of offerings.” 

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